Friday, July 30, 2010

You Capture - Play

This weeks You Capture subject was Play. That left me kind of stymied. I thought to take pictures of my grandchildren playing but I didn't see any of them this week. Then I thought to take a picture of other people playing but that didn't work out well either.

Then I thought of what I do that might qualify as play. I thought of my walks at Striebel Pond but walking for exercise is business right? Oh wait. No they're not. My walks are filled with Play because I'm constantling taking pictures and that's nothing but play. My favorite subject to play with is the swan family. Since they were born it's been my goal to get a picture of them from the top of a bridge that they swim under every evening. The problem is they're wily and as long as someone is on the bridge they swim around in their staging area waiting for the coast to clear.

That's what they were doing last night but I knew it would be fun to outsmart them so I waited - just out of sight - and then ran up on the bridge to capture them ..................... swimming way out of range for the light and my camera.

They won this round but it was fun TRYING to outsmart them.

For more successful and creative Play shots, visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Grant Alexander

Sixteen years ago we were on our way to Muncie. Our daughter-in-law, Dan's wife seemed to be going into labor. I can't express our excitement on the way there and we casually thought it was a good omen when we saw a beautiful rainbow.

We were there at the hospital when Dan came out and told us we had a new grandson but, he added a little nervously, he seemed to be having some breathing problems - nothing serious. He went back in the room and shortly after I saw a nurse rush from their room to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit across the hall carrying a baby. My heart fell to my feet and being ever the anxious (nosy) one, I casually strolled down the hall and looked in the window. Right under the window was a newborn, our grandson, in a bassinet or maybe an incubator. I'm not sure which because all I saw was a baby with no color, no crying, no kicking or arm-waving no movement at all. Just limp - arms out to the side, eyes closed. A nurse looked up and rushed over to close the curtain. I turned around, looked at my family and fell apart. I sobbed into Dave's arms because I knew that I was seeing more than 'a little breathing problem'.

As it turned out, Grant's lung collapsed right after he was born. He spent at least a week in the NICU and his lung collapsed again after the breathing tube was taken out of his back. One more time and he would have been on his way to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis but one more time never came. He turned the corner and has been 110% ever since.

That was when the rainbow became our totem. If we had only remembered it in the midst of our fear and apprehension, we might have been reassured.

Anyway, few babies have been more loved and anticipated than this one. His dad and mom could not get enough of him and neither could anyone else.

He was such an agreeable little boy. Whenever we went to a restaurant, he was happy to suck on a lemon. I don't think it was because he liked them so much but because he enjoyed the response his sour little faces resulted in from the watching crowd.

He also enjoyed the response this look got from everybody:

He was only about 2 1/2 when his dad was assigned to a unit in Hawaii. Two important things happened while Grant was there.

His dad was promoted to captain:

And his little baby brother was born:

They spent about two years in Hawaii then transitioned to Georgia. As Grant grew he was helpful:

And sweet and thoughtful:

He was also athletic and participated in many sports:

I know the trajectory may not look too great in this one but sometimes form is everything:

One thing that Grant had a real passion for around this time was Legos. If you wanted to be his friend, just buy him a set - the bigger the better. There was nothing he couldn't build:

Including his own inventions:

Obviously a boy of many talents, he soon became interested in music:

Please don't ask this grandmother to explain why she doesn't have a picture of him playing his guitar (his current passion) because that would be cruel. Suffice it to say that I fell short in my picture taking objective (and that doesn't happen very often - obviously lol).

As Grant grew, he changed. First of all, we got to see how handsome he was in glasses.

He was fearless when worms crawled on the train window right next to him!

He participated in rallies for the troops when he was just a little guy.

And welcomed his daddy home from Iraq at our house where he and his family had taken refuge from Hurricane Katrina:

When Grant lived in Kansas, there was another momentous occasion in his life. His baby sister, Tessa, was born.

And after they moved to Colorado Springs, his mom took a picture as he and his sister and brother waited to welcome their dad home again.

Last year Grant changed again.

Here he is in July:

In August:

And in November, after joining ROTC at his high school:

We visited last Spring and got to watch a competition in which he participated, at the Air Force Academy. We could not have been more proud:

And here is our second grandson a couple of weeks ago just before they left after a short visit:

- as handsome and sweet and wonderful as ever. Grant, we love you and hope your sixteenth birthday is AMAZING!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

My Big O' Pig and More

Last week, Amy and her husband, Tracy, went camping on a lake near Coldwater, Michigan. Harry and I visited them Friday evening and then the next day drove on to the Detroit area to have lunch with our granddaughter, Amber, for her 22nd birthday.

Anyway, I'm really here to talk about our fishing trip. We had barely started fishing when I started the evening catching this nice rock bass:

Then Harry caught this nice large mouth bass. He was probably feeling pretty pleased with himself until........

I caught my BIG OL' PIG:

Then I caught this nice large mouth.

And Amy and I caught these two at the same time:

Amy caught one next:

Then I caught another nice little rock bass. I thought it was appropriate that I started and ended my night with two rock basses .... but wait..............

One more large mouth for me!

Here I am with a catch I made many years ago:

So you can see I had an amazingly successful night. It's only right though because all I caught last year was pictures of everybody elses fish!

It was so much fun and I can't wait to go again!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

You Capture - Black & White

Beth's You Capture this week is Black & White so it became a matter of trying to find which of my photos would look good in black and white. My first thought was that it would be a disservice to my flower photos to show them without their lovely colors; but when I tried it, I kind of liked it:

Then there was the cell phone tower set against all the clouds.

And Jack saying, "Look, I'll prove it. It's right here in black and white"!

And the crazy cat with his crazy tongue and big, big eyes:

And the two sweet, old-fashioned girls walking hand-in-hand down the old-fashioned street in the old-fashioned town:

That's all I have for today. You capture truly caught me by surprise. What a week it's been!

For more black and white visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry and don't be afraid to add your own black and white photos!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

When I'm 64!

Over the years I've experienced many different kinds of birthdays. The birthdays of my youth were anticipated for months. There was never anything spectacular planned back then. But it was a special day just the same. It was such a treat to be the 'guest of honor' all day and nothing could compare to that glorious feeling of finally being a year older.

It's no wonder things change so much as we get older. Most obviously that heady rush of being a year older has become a different feeling entirely. Monday I actually appreciated the fact that I was still only 63. Because the older you get the less fun the aging process is. Of course, we all know the alternative and that makes piling on the years quite acceptable; but racking up another year does not generate the same feeling it did when we were a kids.

So as we get older and have children of our own, birthdays evolve into something much more laid back. In fact, some years that special day barely causes a ripple in the day-to-day routine. My mother was selfless and loving, a real saint with a clever sense of humor. Those attributes combined one year, when we kids were young and dumb, to make her tell us that her birthday was September 31st. September 2nd, her real birthday, came and went and was just another day. As the end of the month neared, I realized that there was no September 31st and it made me sad. This was the time in my life when birthdays were important and I couldn't understand her not wanting to celebrate hers. Now I think that she thought we were old enough and smart enough to catch the ploy before it was too late but sadly we weren't. She never got away with that again and we had lots of September 2nd birthday celebrations after that but skipping her special day that year always bothered me.

As I grew older, I learned first hand that life in general sometimes takes priority over birthdays. We've all had birthdays that were barely acknowledged and I think that always leaves us with kind of an empty feeling. Maybe it's something associated with that wild anticipation that upcoming birthdays generated when we were children. That feeling that for just one day, we were the most special one.

Yesterday was my 64th birthday. I remember when 64 was really old. I remember when the Beatle's wondered if someone would still need them and still feed them when they became 64. Man, that was a long time ago. And now at warp speed it's arrived. I'm 64.

And it was one of those birthdays that we all secretly hope we'll get. All my kids couldn't be here but two of them were. I got to talk to all four of the others including the one in Iraq. I got emails and ecards starting at 6:30 in the morning and, since I'd recently joined Facebook, I got greetings from many people that I seldom see or talk with. I still don't know how that works but it sure was awesome hearing from them.

Anna and Jenna put on a birthday performance in the back yard.

I was treated to anything and everything I wanted at Designer Desserts in Valparaiso and dinner at Olive Garden. We came home and I opened cards and gifts and ate cake & ice cream.

And Beth wrote a post announcing to everyone that it was my birthday. I'm still amazed at the number of people that visited my blog and left a greeting. That's what's so great about this whole bloggy world. The people that frequent it are warm and kind and generous. So many took the time to help make my day extra special that I'm still reeling and still smiling.

Thank you so much to everyone who helped make me feel so special.

Even when I'm 64.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Hi everyone,

It's Beth over from I Should Be Folding Laundry. I've hijacked my Mom's blog because today is her birthday and I'd love for you to leave her an extra-special Happy Birthday message!

She may come across as a fun, loving, caring, awesome person on her blog and that is simply because she is!

Mom, I hope your day is awesome - I'll make sure it's filled with lots of love and CUPCAKES!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Amber Lynn

Amber was born on July 17th, 1988. I really, really wanted her to wait 3 days until my birthday but she wasn't having it. It was over 24 hours from when Amy started timing contractions until her obstetrician decided it was time for a c-section. I was actually in the operating room for her birth and it was one of the most extraordinary experiences ever. I remember her sitting upright, with her bottom half still in utero and her top half pure blue just before the doctor pulled her the rest of the way out.

And I remember her in the nursery right after she was born. We all looked at her through the big windows and she gazed right back at us. I felt like I could hear her thinking "oh, these are the people I've been listening to all this time".

She was an adorable baby and she got attention wherever she went. Here's a picture of her at around one and I could actually substitute a picture of her son and I don't think anyone would know the difference.

From the time she was born, she was everybody's favorite toy. Her aunts and uncles adored her and so did her grandma and grandpa. It was probably hard for her mother to claim her as her own when so many people wanted a proprietary share of her. But she and her mother were always close back then and they still are now.

Maybe that's why she was such a little performer. She wasn't even three years old when she sang at her aunt's wedding. I have a picture somewhere but I guess it hasn't been scanned yet and it was before the beautiful age of digital photography.

She didn't just sing either. She was also a dancer and I do have visual proof of that:

She has always loved animals and was fearless around the biggest dogs.

But I think her favorites were the cats. Here she is with her uncle's cat.

And here's the cat she has today.

It might seem like she's kind of a ferocious, evil little cat but actually she is. Just kidding. She's just a bit playful sometimes.

As Amber matured per personality did too. She was always smiling, always loving, and always kind.

As her aunts and uncles had coddled her when she was little, so she coddled her brother and sister and nieces and nephews.

Amber and I used to love to have photo shoots. I got to practice photography and she got to practice posing. Here are a couple of random shots.

In 2008 Amber met and married her husband, Chris. A wonderful guy that we all love.

Last year their son, Jack, was born and this year, in fact in about six weeks, they're expecting their second son.

We had lunch with Amber and Jack yesterday. She's just as wonderful and sweet as she's always been and we were grateful to get to spend part of her birthday with her. Jack is adorable and a lot of fun but unfortunately Chris had to work.

So please join me in wishing Amber a slightly belated happy birthday. She has always been and continues to be a joy to us and her entire family. We love you, Amber. Happy Birthday!